- - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

(1) Plenty of Ted Cruz post-mortem being written today. Here is Ross Douthat’s: The Defeat of True Conservatism

Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all, and that the less frequently evangelicals go to church, the more likely they are to vote for a philandering sybarite instead of a pastor’s son. Cruz would probably be on his way to the Republican nomination if he had simply carried the Deep South. But unless voters were in church every Sunday, Trump’s identity politics had more appeal than Cruz’s theological-political correctness.

Trump proved that many of the party’s moderates and establishmentarians hate the thought of a True Conservative nominee even more than they fear handing the nomination to a proto-fascist grotesque with zero political experience and poor impulse control. That goes for the prominent politicians who refused to endorse Cruz, the prominent donors who sat on their hands once the field narrowed and all the moderate-Republican voters in blue states who turned out to be #NeverCruz first and #NeverTrump less so or even not at all.

…Whatever reckoning awaits the G.O.P. and conservatism after 2016 will have to begin with that brute fact. Where the reckoning goes from there — well, with now is a time for pundit humility, so your guess is probably as good as mine.

(2)2015 Saw A Decrease In Religious Freedom Around The World, Says Annual Report (NPR)

(3)Andover Newton to partner with Yale, shutter Mass. campus (RNS)

The nation’s oldest graduate school of theology is planning to relocate from Newton, Mass., to New Haven, Conn., where a small remnant of the faculty will teach on the campus of Yale Divinity School.

On Monday (May 2), Martin Copenhaver, president of Andover Newton Theological School, said he and the dean of the Yale Divinity School have forged a partnership that, if finalized, will phase out the Massachusetts campus and phase in a presence at Yale with a 2018 launch date.

In its new location, Andover Newton will function as a school within a school, to be known as “Andover Newton at Yale.” The school will shrink to a fraction of its current size as students take most of their courses with Yale professors.

***In related news, Evangelical seminaries report an ever-increasing enrollment year after year.

(4)Ewan McGregor Says It Was ‘Daunting’ To Play Jesus (Huffington Post)

“It’s daunting to be approaching a piece of work where you’re playing Jesus Christ, very daunting. It took up most of my thoughts in terms of the two characters.”

McGregor said he focused more of his preparatory work on the Jesus character, reading everything about the founding figure of Christianity that he could get his hands on.

“Many of the most recent books were trying to disprove the ‘son of God’ nature of his life and were writing more about who he might actually have been. [But] I was portraying Jesus who is the son of God,” McGregor said.

Christian theology presents Jesus as equal parts human and divine, which can present challenges to filmmakers.

“I have no idea how you write God,” Garcia said on a recent call with reporters. “So I focused on the human side.” The human side of Jesus would undoubtedly be tired, hungry, and insecure after 40 days of fasting, the director said. And that’s the Jesus he tried to depict.

“We were showing the human side to him, exploring the human side of a young rabbi who is aware of the path that’s been set in front of him,” McGregor said.

(5)Missionary slain in Jamaica was Iowa Southern Baptist (Baptist Press)

Todd Stiles, pastor of First Family, told BP the congregation commissioned Hentzel and his wife Sara as fulltime missionaries to Jamaica in 2011 and supported them financially on an ongoing basis. Hentzel was a founding member of First Family in 2004 and served part-time as the church’s first small groups pastor.

“We are praying for right biblical justice,” Stiles said, “but we’re also praying for Gospel expansion … Randy paid with his life in the country he loved and was trying to help them train up pastors and plant churches. We’re praying that God will use his blood as a seed for the Gospel to go even to greater lengths in that country.”

Sara Hentzel was in Iowa at the time of her husband’s death. The couple had been on furlough since November, Stiles said. Randy Hentzel returned to Jamaica for three weeks to prepare for the short-term trip of a U.S. team and check on a local Bible training center, Teams for Medical Missions told BP, noting the short-term trip has been canceled.

The Hentzels have five children, the youngest of whom is in ninth grade, Stiles said. First Family is helping the family financially, providing meals and assisting with coordination of a memorial service scheduled for May 9.

Stiles said Randy Hentzel “would do anything to see the Gospel spread and people get saved.”

If Hentzel were still living, Stiles said, “he would say, ‘If giving my life would be a way to further God’s Kingdom [with] more churches, more souls saved … then count me in.’ He wouldn’t worry about the risk. That’s just the kind of guy he was.”

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